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T-1 Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking

Purpose of T-1 Visa / Applying for a T-1 Visa / Family Members of Victims of Human Trafficking

Purpose of T-1 Visa

The T-1 visa was created to address the growing problem of international human trafficking and is designed for victims of trafficking. The T-1 visa provides a trafficking victim with the legal means to prevent removal or deportation from the United States.

T-1 visas are issued for three years. After three years, T-1 visa holders are eligible to adjust status to permanent residency. There are 5,000 T-1 visas available each year.

For a person to be eligible for a T-1 visa:

  • The person must be the victim of "severe trafficking" in persons;
  • The person must be physically present in the United States;
  • Unless the person is less than 18 years old, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State must agree the person complied with a reasonable request by law enforcement authorities to assist in the investigation or prosecution of such trafficking or in the investigation of crimes where acts of trafficking are at least one central reason for the crime; and
  • The person would "suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm" if the person was sent back home.

Proving that a person is victim of "severe trafficking" requires showing that the person was brought to the United States either

  • For the purpose of a commercial sex act, which was induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or occurred when the person had not reached 18 years of age; or
  • For the purpose of labor of services, which were induced by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjecting the person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Applying for a T-1 Visa

If you are a victim of human trafficking and wish to apply for a T-1 visa, you should complete and file Form I-194, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status.

A complete application packet should include:

  • Evidence that the T-1 is the victim of a severe form of trafficking;
    • The application must include a signed, written by the applicant describing how he or she was victimized by the traffickers.
  • Evidence that the T-1 is currently in the United States as a result of the trafficking;
  • Evidence that the T-1 has complied with a reasonable request for assistance by a law enforcement agency that investigates and prosecutes trafficking (or evidence that the T-1 is under 15 years of age);
    • The T-1 should submit a "law enforcement agency endorsement," (LEA endorsement), if possible.  An LEA endorsement is a signed, written statement by a law enforcement officer and is made on Supplement B to Form I-914.  An LEA endorsement is evidence that the T-1 is a victim of a severe form of trafficking and has not unreasonably refused a request for assistance in the investigation or prosecuting of trafficking.
  • Evidence that the T-1 would suffer extreme hardship if removed from the United States;
  • Proper fee or request for a fee waiver;
  • Proper fee for fingerprints;
  • Three current photos; and
  • Any waivers of inadmissibility, if necessary and proper fee for waiver application (Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant).

Family Members of T-1 Victims of Human Trafficking

To petition for family members to stay with, or join, the T-1 in the United States, complete and file Supplement A, Application for an Immediate Family Member of a T-1 Recipient. Family members may be included on the T-1’s, or they may be petitioned for later.

Generally, only the husband or wife and children of the T-1 are eligible for a derivative T visa. However, if the T-1 is under the age of 21, the T-1’s parents may qualify for a derivative T visa. Derivative T visas include the T-2 visa (spouse of T-1), the T-3 visa (child of T-1), and the T-4 visa (parent of T-1, if T-1 is a child).

For a family member to qualify for a derivative T visa, the family member must:

  • Prove his or her relationship to the T-1;
  • Prove extreme hardship if removed from the United States or not allowed to join the T-1 in the United States; and
  • Be otherwise admissible to the United Sates.

Family members with T visas are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the United States. To apply for an EAD, family members should file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Family members may file Form I-765 at the same time their Form I-914, Supplement A applications are filed. The initial EAD will be valid for one year but but may be renewed as long as applicants remain in valid T visa status.

News and Resources

U.S. Government Web Sites on Human Trafficking

USCIS - Victims of Human Trafficking & Other Crimes

USCIS - Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status

USCIS - Green Card for a Victim of Trafficking (T Nonimmigrant)

USCIS - Questions and Answers: Victims of Human Trafficking, T Nonimmigrant Status

USCIS - Immigration Options for Victims of Crime (PDF)

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services - Human Trafficking

U.S. Dept. of State - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

U.S. Dept. of State - Foreign Affairs Manual - Trafficking Victims (PDF)

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report 2007

U.S. Dept. of Justice News Release - Attorney General Announces Enhanced Programs to Combat Human Trafficking - Oct. 3, 2006

U.S. Dept. of Justice News Release - Justice Department Highlights Five Years of Unprecedented Success Fighting Human Trafficking - March 15, 2006

U.S. Dept. of Justice Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking - Fiscal Years 2001-2005 (PDF)

USCIS Memo - Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 - April 15, 2004 (PDF)

U.S. Dept. of Justice Press Release - T Visa To Protect Women, Children and All Victims of Human Trafficking - Jan. 24, 2002

More Resources on Human Trafficking and U.S. Immigration

Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking

humantrafficking.org

Immigration News - Human Trafficking

When American Dream Leads to Servitude - New York Times - April 24, 2007

Maid lived for 20 years in quiet struggle - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Jan. 13, 2007

Trafficking Case Ends for 48 Thai Welders - Los Angeles Times - Dec. 8, 2006